Trump Administration to End Filipino Vet Program

August 4, 2019, 12:00 PM HST (Updated August 4, 2019, 10:00 AM)
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World War 2 veterans of Filipino ancestry pose for a photo. Image courtesy the Historical Marker Database.

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i) called out President Donald Trump cruel and inhumane toward immigrant communities after issued the his administration announced it will terminate the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole Program (FWVP).

“To serve his pathological need to treat immigrants as cruelly as possible, and to undo any program ever created by Barack Obama, Donald Trump is dishonoring Filipino World War II veterans by ending the program that allows them to reunite their families in the United States,” Sen. Hirono said. “The president’s decision means many of these veterans in their 90s will likely die without seeing their families again.”

“The depths of Donald Trump’s inhumanity where immigrants are concerned knows no bottom, but not even the most loyal of his supporters can be in favor of disrespecting the brave and distinguished service of veterans who fought alongside Americans and helped us win the war,” she continued. “There is no purpose to keeping the families of the quickly diminishing number of Filipino World War II veterans separated. They have been ignored and disrespected by this country for decades. They deserve our thanks, not spite from their unhinged president.”

Filipino veterans were granted citizenship in recognition of their service to the United States during World War II. Many of their children, however, were not, a release from Sen. Hirono’s office stated.

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Due to the volume of immigrant visa applications from the Philippines, it can take more than 20 years for families to be reunited. Under the FWVP program, the adult children of Filipino World War II veterans, along with their spouses and children under age 21, can be together in the United States while they await an available immigrant visa.

Last month, Sen. Hirono met for a second time with the Milla Family—the first family in Hawai‘i to benefit from the FWVP program in 2017, the release stated. After waiting more than 20 years for an immigrant visa, the FWVP program enabled Jeorge Milla to be reunited with his mother in Hawai‘i while awaiting his visa. Jeorge and his wife Juseline are now employed in Hawai‘i, their two daughters Jasmine and Jeraldine are attending college, and they have all earned their Green Cards, the release continued.

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